Application fees for Temporary Work (Skilled) – Subclass 457 visas are nearly doubling.

As of 1 July this year, fees will increase to $900, earning the Government an extra 47 million dollars for the coming financial year.

The permanent Australian Migration Program is being maintained at 190,000 in 2013-14.

Clearly the government recognises the genuine skills shortages in Australia and the need to have an effective work visa system to ensure Australian businesses can source skills off-shore.

Curiously the Skilled Migration Program will be reduced by 700 places – the government is apparently being sensitive to criticisms that it is granting too many visas.

That said, the annual Family Migration Program will have an extra allocation of 700 visas per year – which is well over due given the ridiculously long processing times for these visas.

Prior to this week, there were only 5000 places allocated to parent visas per year. This extremely small allocation has resulted in ridiculously long processing times for parent visas (which are predicted to take as long as 20 years unless the “priority” fee of $40k (approx.)/visa is paid).